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Full text of "A history of Persia"

DECLINE OF SAFAVI DYNASTY       301
of Muscovy, and consisted of two envoys with 800
followers. With the habitual generous hospitality of the
Safavis, the Muscovites were entertained in a splendid
palace, but it soon transpired that they were really
merchants who had been permitted to assume the role of
ambassadors in order to evade the payment of the customs
dues. Abbas was justly incensed at this duplicity, and
the Muscovites were thereupon treated with contempt and
dismissed without -a formal reply. In revenge for this
affront the Grand Duke instigated the Cossacks of
Southern Russia to raid Mazanderan. At first they were
successful and burned Farrahabad, the capital. They then
entrenched themselves in the peninsula of Mian Kala,
close to the present Russian naval station at Ashurada,
but were driven out of their position. This raid was the
first act of Russian aggression against Persia.1
Sulayman, A.H. 1077-1105 (1667-1694).—Safi, the
eldest son of Abbas, was twenty years of age at the time
of his father's death. Unwilling to accept a grown man as
their sovereign, the Ministers pretended to believe that the
young Prince, who had been kept immured in the anderun^
had been blinded, and on this account proposed to enthrone
his infant brother. The intrigue, however, was defeated
by the loyalty of a eunuch, and Safi ascended the throne
under the title of Sulayman.
The decline of the dynasty proceeded placidly under
the new monarch, who was a voluptuary and unwarlike.
The seizure of Kishm by the Dutch did not rouse him to
action, nor was he disturbed by the Uzbeg inroads into
Khorasan. Bad health in his later years confined him to
his anderun^ where he fell entirely under the influence of
eunuchs and women ; but even so the country appeared
to remain tranquil and the dynasty enjoyed its Indian
summer. Sulayman maintained the traditional splendour
of the Safavi Court. Chardin gives a vivid "description of
the scene in the Maydan-i-Shah on a day of festival:
"Le 16. Sur les huit heures du matin on vit la Place
Royale arrosŁe de bout en bout, & ornŁe comme je vais
le dire. A c6tŁ de la grand entree du Palais. Royal, a,
1 Chardin, Coronation of King Solyman III., pp. i$2-$4«